Toyota Motor Corp. has set April15, 2005 -- tax day -- as the on-sale date for the next addition to its hybrid-powered vehicle portfolio, according to Automotive News. Toyota said it already has more than 9,500 confirmed pre-sold orders for the RX 400h, which will be designated a 2006 model. The automaker has not announced a price. The automaker said its captive finance company, Lexus Financial Services, would extend leases for current Lexus owners who have ordered a RX 400h as much as 12 months to cover any potential gap between lease contracts. The Lexus RX 400h powertrain combines a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with an electric motor for a combined 270 horsepower. The vehicle will be sold in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants. The electric motor in the Lexus hybrid will turn at 12,000 rpm, twice the speed of the electric motor in the Toyota Prius. A hybrid powertrain gets propulsion from two sources, an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The addition of the electric motor, which can be the sole source of propulsion at low speeds and give a short-term boost for acceleration, enables an automaker to use a smaller internal combustion engine to reduce fuel consumption.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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